A Research Journey

February 21, 2012
Interschool Lab, 750 CEPSR
Speaker: Dr. Debasis Mitra , Vice President, Chief Scientist's Office (Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent)


After a brief overview of my recent activities, I will survey my past research interests while dwelling briefly on a half dozen topics. This will be followed by a description of recent work with Qiong Wang, a colleague at Bell Labs, on "Models for Optimization of Industrial Research Management". We view the industrial laboratory as being analogous to a knowledge factory in which concepts originate in research at the first stage and subsequent development stages housing skilled specialists bring added value before final handoff at the market or to other organizations. Uncertainly is pervasive in this framework. For instance, stochastic processes govern the evolution of project values through the stages. Management is at two levels, project and investment. Our methodology for project management is based on option value. Its implementation requires information on projects to be collected at each stage. This information is used to calculate option values of partially completed projects, which are the expected terminal values that take into account future management decisions. The option values are used to make mid-course decisions on whether to allow projects to continue to be developed or be terminated. Yet another management mechanism that is modelled is the controlled access to resources and servers in the development stages. For the special case of two stages, research and development, we consider a combined model of investment optimization in the presence of optimal project and resource management. For this case results from an asymptotic analysis provide insights on optimal management decision-making. Numerical examples illustrate concepts in the talk.

Speaker Biography

Debasis Mitra is Vice President in the Chief Scientist's Office of Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent. He is responsible for global research partnerships and academic relations. From 1999-2007 as Vice President of the Mathematical and Algorithmic Sciences Research Center he directed activities in fundamental mathematics, algorithms, complex systems analysis and optimization, statistics, learning theory, information and communications sciences, and industrial mathematics.

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